Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’


When “Time Off” Is Not A Vacation

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality

The past two weeks since being laid off have been anything but dull.

The first week actually felt like I was on vacation, probably from the feeling of relief following two weeks of heads-down work updating documentation and training my replacement. I was able to sleep in late (if you consider 8:30am late), take care of some things around the house I’d been meaning to work on, and generally relax. I was checking my ex-company’s online job board each day to see if new positions were opening up, and I did apply for a couple that seemed to fit my background. I also got word from a former co-worker about an opening on her team that she thought I should apply for…it’s in an area I’m not as comfortable with, but she assured me my background would be very useful in the role, so I applied for it as well. She said she’d be looking for the application to come through. The week ended on a pretty good note, and I felt very confident that my next job was just around the corner.

Then came the second week. Silence. No replies to my applications, not even the one I had “inside help” with applying (at last word she’s trying to contact the recruiter to find out where my application is in the pipeline). I started getting letters from my former employer about what I no longer had access to, reminding me how my severance would be paid, what it would cost to continue my medical benefits through COBRA, options for rolling over my 401K, etc.

Stuff’s getting real, I thought.

It was time to buckle down… so I dug into the information I was getting from a representative assigned to me from the job coaching company my ex-employer is paying for me to use for the next four months. At his request I had sent a copy of my current four-page detailed resume for analysis, and he came back with what I call “the usual list” of tips and suggestions – “you must have a summary statement”, “you shouldn’t list more than 10 years worth of experience”, “highlight accomplishments, not skills”, “keep the resume to no more than two pages”, and so on. I don’t care who you are, none of those are easy to do when you have a technical career that spans over three decades, and you have no idea what training or experiences from all of that time may be just what an employer is looking for… but I decided to humor the guy and give it a whirl. I started hacking away, eliminating entire sections and completely rewriting others, and by the end I had a document that was just under two pages in length as he requested. It doesn’t have all those details I felt were important to keep, but it does point out the most important aspects of each position I’ve held. I said to myself, we’ll run with this a while and see what happens. I have all the stuff I removed in a second document I can provide if needed. If you’re interested in seeing a comparison of the two, let me know.

His next suggestion was to update my social media accounts to reflect my job change. I have two accounts, one on Facebook (who doesn’t?) and one on LinkedIn, which for those who don’t know is a site that focuses strictly on business people and has been around longer than Facebook. I decided to not only update my employment status on both, but also to update my online job history on LinkedIn with the revisions I made to my resume. Will it make a difference? We’ll see.

In the meantime, I got some help from an unexpected direction. A classmate of mine from high school contacted me through Facebook and asked me to forward a copy of my resume to him. In turn, he put me in touch with one of his company’s recruiters in my area. He was the first business person I’d talked with since my layoff, and we had a delightful conversation about my situation, background, and what sort of position I was looking for. He said he would check with his clients to see if they had any openings, which made me feel good about the day… but it was something else he said during the conversation that made my entire week: he mentioned after looking over my resume that I have “very marketable skills.” Now that doesn’t sound like much, but coming from a person who has never met me before and has only my resume to go by, that meant the world to me. Maybe that job coach’s ideas for restructuring my resume weren’t so bad after all?

So, now I begin my third week of unemployment. I expect I will be even busier, working all the job boards and searches, sending out inquiries, doing some networking, and hoping to land at least one job interview with some company somewhere. Just to get to an interview will be a major accomplishment even if I don’t get an offer, since it means they’re at least interested enough in what I’ve done to talk to me.

Wish me luck!


If you have been following my blog for the last few months, thank you. I really appreciate your taking the time to read my posts and share your comments and criticisms.

And, if you’ve been following my blog you should be familiar with my unsuccessful efforts to have cable Internet service installed in my house. Well, I decided to try again this morning. I have been wanting to contact the Cable One corporate office in Tucson, Arizona, but their website only lists a mailing address – no e-mail address or phone number (the number they do publish routes you to their local office). But, as it turns out, Cable One has a Facebook page, and being a Facebook user myself I decided I would try to post a note on their Wall and see if they would provide a response.

Because of Facebook’s text limitations, I had to post my note in two parts – an initial posting on their Wall, and then a comment attached to the posting. Here are the two parts of the note.

First, the Wall posting:

I’d like to ask Cable ONE to give me a REAL reason why my local office (Sherman, TX) will not provide service to my home. I’ve been trying for 10 YEARS to get service, my latest attempt a couple of months ago. I have neighbors 350 feet away from my house and a large subdivision bordering my property who’ve had service for several years, but when I ask for service I’m denied. The excuses I was given this time included “your house is set back too far from the street” (but not my neighbors), “we only construct cable where there is a housing density of at least 25 homes per square mile” (there’s a subdivision next door), and my favorite: “well, the cable has to end somewhere” (it ends on a pole in front of my property). They promised a technician would contact me and give me a detailed explanation… and I’m still waiting for that call. I don’t think I’ll ever hear from them, since there isn’t any technical reason preventing them from installing service.

And then, the comment I added on below the posting:

I wanted to e-mail or call someone at the corporate office to calmly discuss this matter, but they do not publish an e-mail address or a direct phone number — the only numbers they list point to local offices, and I’m through dealing with the one in Sherman (they do list a mailing address in Arizona, but since they’re pushing their Internet service you’d think they would at least have some sort of generic e-mail address?). So, I’m using the only other online outlet I can find.

I highly doubt this posting will stay up on FB very long; the last thing any company wants is someone ranting on a social network about their unsuccessful attempts to obtain service and the ridiculous excuses they were given for being denied.

At this point, if there’s anyone at Cable ONE who really cares about my request, I will be genuinely surprised. In the meantime, I guess I’ll stick with my AT&T satellite Internet service (crappy as it is, it’s still better than dialup).

As I had said in the comment, the complete posting did not stay up on their Wall for very long. Within an hour, the add-on comment had been deleted by their page moderator, and with it a response from another Facebook user (which I received via e-mail before it was deleted). Curiously, the original post stayed up… and even more curiously, someone from Cable ONE actually posted a response to it, asking me to send them a direct e-mail with contact information so they can follow up on my issue.

I sent an e-mail to the address they gave me, briefly detailing what I’ve been through over the past 10 years or so. A short time later I received the following response (I have removed the sender’s name):

Hi Michael,

Thank you for the detailed response and I am glad you contacted us on Facebook! We want to have another outlet for customers to talk to us, even if it isn’t always good news.

In addition, I am sorry if we deleted a post. It wasn’t intentional.  It’s only two of us that have administrative privileges and we rarely delete posts.  We have done it a couple times; let’s just say the posts and posters were memorable. Again, please accept our apologies.

I am forwarding your email to our Technical Operations Manager in Sherman with a request to contact you. If anyone can answer your question, he can. I hope we can work something out for you. We would love to have you as a customer.

Thank you. Please let me know if you have additional concerns.

That was certainly unexpected. Of course, now I have to wait and see if this local manager will actually contact me. Based on their previous track record, I’m not very hopeful. But, I’m willing to give them a chance… just like I have over and over again for the past 10 years.

And so the saga continues…